WiFi4EU is a European Commission initiative that awards grants to municipalities to install free WiFi access for citizens in public spaces throughout Europe, including parks, squares, libraries, and health centres.
WiFi has become an essential part of our daily lives, influencing culture and tourism. Through the WiFi4EU initiative, local businesses, citizens and tourists alike, will have the opportunity to benefit from free public WiFi across Europe. Zyxel and its partners have commenced two trials of WiFi4EU with two Spanish cities – Quintanas de Gormaz and Miño de San Esteban – with the aim of launching into 17 other Spanish and central European cities, and further across Europe.
Through its partnership with Octopus WiFi, Zyxel has ensured that all conditions set out in the grant agreement have been met, covering requirements for EU visual identity, usage and network quality. Furthermore, as it is a public WiFi network, all users have guaranteed compliance with regulations regarding data processing and storage (GDPR).
To qualify for the WiFi4EU initiative, cities are required to apply for the funding and appoint an appropriate vendor to install the necessary equipment. Once approved, the vendor will then receive the funding to then begin the network installation – the city council will not be directly involved with the funding itself. The grant will cover the set-up of all necessary equipment, including access points, cabling and switches.
The network itself works on a Cloud platform, so is offered as a SaaS service with different levels of licensing without the need for additional hardware installation. On top of this, Zyxel’s latest WiFi 6 solutions – WAX510D and NWA110AX – will be used to support the initiative. The platform itself is multi-vendor, so that it can be integrated with the most common WLAN solution manufacturers in the market. As the initiative is still within its trial stages, vendors have access to traffic and usage reports to examine network traffic and identify potential bottlenecks – all of which is provided within the WiFi4EU package due to its real-time monitoring system.
As part of the package, the vendors have developed the WiFi4EU Portal – a specific template with Policy Enforcement Component, or ‘snippets’, all with WiFi4EU requirements. The portal itself is compliant with WiFi4EU visual requirements and supports 24 predefined language codes – making it highly accessible for tourists.
“The range of language codes will help make the expansion across Europe that bit easier, as the network and accompanying platforms are already compliable with the main European cities,” commented Marce de Miguel Fernández, Head of Presales & Business Development at Octopus WiFi.
“For those needing to travel or visit other cities – whether for work or leisure – the WiFi4EU provides them with the seamless connectivity they need when completing their journeys. And they can do this, safe in the knowledge that the networks are completely secure.”
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